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Karna’s Wife A tale of a woman who married an “Outcast”
Karna is one of the great characters of the Mahabharata war. He was born an illegitimate son of the Queen Kunti and was abandoned by her. He was set adrift in a small boat and rescued by a charioteer, who brought him up. Karna thus, though born a Kshatriya had to endure being a lower caste. He was however possessed of great strength and skill in weaponry and though classified as a lower caste could beat the best of the Kshatriya warrior. He came to know his origin, when his mother met him before the Mahabharata war and asked him to join his brothers. He had 5 brothers known as the Pandavas.
Karna was on the horns of a dilemma, yet his loyalty to Duryodhana the Kaurava prince prevailed and he refused to side with the Pandavas, but he promised not to kill any Pandva except Arjuna, who he felt has usurped his right.
Karna at the Swayamvara of Draupadi
Karna appeared at the swayamvara of Draupadi and the princes all around were in awe at his prowess. Later Draupadi confessed that she herself would have liked Karna as a husband in case he had won. Unfortunately the Pandavas raised the issue of caste and debarred Karna from the swayamvara. Karna was humiliated and sent away and in his absence Arjuna won Draupadi. From that day onwards Karna was a sworn enemy of Arjuna.
The kaurava prince Duryodhana gave succor to Karna and took him under his patronage. He was thus forever beholden to the Kaurava prince, who was the enemy of the Pandavas.
Karna however remained an outcaste, yet the princess Uruvi fell in love with him. She was the second wife of Karna, but she was a strong-willed princess and in due course became the primary anchor in Karna’s highly turbulent life.
Uruvi was the only daughter of the King of Pukeya. She defied all social norms and traditions to garland the person she loved – Karna, a near social outcast and a charioteer’s son. Being the wife of Karna was not easy and Uruvi faced resentment from all the people who’ve ever loved her. That Karna has pledged his loyalties to the Kaurava prince Duryodhana did not ameliorate the situation.
Raised in absolute royalty and pampered throughout her life by a doting father, Uruvi found herself facing many challenging situations, some that even tended to shatter her faith in the man she loved the most. But having gone against family and society, she now had to live her choice for the sake of her unborn child.
Time with Karna
As horrific events leading up to the famous war of Kurukshetra begin to unravel, Uruvi braced herself for what is going to be her final destiny. Resigning to the fact that breaking her husband’s resolve is not an option, she busied herself in her homely duties, tending to wounded soldiers and being Karna’s strength for the few years she knows they will be together. She was aware as forecast by astrologers that Karna would be killed by a ruse.
Karna the Man
Karna is in fact the central character of the Mahabharta.. A righteous man, a valiant warrior, a loyal friend, a dedicated and loving husband, an ideal son and the unsung hero. Karna was a man of his word and though on many occasions he defeated the Pandva brothers like Bhīma he spared their life as he had promised his mother Kunte that he will kill only one Pandva and that too only Arjuna. He had prophetically said that come what may either I or Arjuna will die and you will still have 5 sons.
The princess was aware that Karna would die, not in a straight battle but by a ruse. She had tried to dissuade Karna from joining Duryodhana, but Karna remained loyal to him and though knowing that he was under a curse went into battle despite the entreaty of his wife.
Urvi is one of the unsung heroines of the Mahabharata and her role is not glorified. But she was a great part of Karna and she loved him. When she came to know he was a Kshatriya, she wanted to announce to the world, but Karna forbade her and as a loyal wife she acquiesced. Urvi’s is a tragic tale, but a poignant reminder that women have great inherent strength.
Killing of Karna.
The Mahabharata tells us that Karna in battle with Arjuna in single combat defeated him again and again and in all probability would have won and killed him. But during battle his chariot sank in the mud and at that time Arjuna killed him by a ruse.
Karna was killed but poor Urvi was left forlorn and alone. She chose karna despite his being an outcaste , yet paid a terrible price for her selection